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Michelle Hesterberg,
Environment Iowa

Small Business Owners, Farmers, Elected Officials Support EPA Proposal to Protect Iowa’s Waterways

For Immediate Release

Des Moines, Iowa – Today, coming off the biggest step forward for clean water in more than a decade, Environment Iowa stood with community leaders to release a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency signed by 300 small business owners nationwide, including 17 in Iowa. The letter expressed support for the EPA’s proposal to restore Clean Water Act protections to many of Iowa’s waterways by closing loopholes in the Clean Water Act that currently leave 62% of Iowa’s streams and the drinking water for 667,000 Iowans at risk of unchecked pollution. 

“With the drinking water for 667,000 Iowans at risk, we’re thrilled to see the EPA moving forward to protect our waterways,” said Michelle Hesterberg, Federal Field Organizer with Environment Iowa, which has worked for more than a decade to restore these critical Clean Water Act protections. “This rule is about securing that all our water is safe and healthy. Whether we’re canoeing on the Des Moines River, fishing in our favorite stream, or just drinking the water that comes from our tap, we need Iowa’s waterways to be clean and protected.”

Standing with Environment Iowa were small business owner, Mike Draper, and local farmer, Francis Thicke. Various groups have weighed in, and continue to weigh in, as the EPA moves forward with a rule to restore protections to waterways across Iowa.

This past fall, 300 farmers from across the country joined Environment Iowa in calling on the EPA to restore Clean Water Act protections to all Iowa’s waterways and now they were joined by 300 small business owners, including 17 in Iowa, calling for clean water protections. The breadth of support was reinforced by the speakers’ remarks as they celebrated the EPA’s proposal today, echoing that whether it’s for operating a business, watering crops on a farm, or turning on the tap for a drink, everyone has a stake in clean water. 

“The small businesses here in Des Moines are a huge part of what makes our town great, and as a small business owner I want to see our local economy thrive. But if the Des Moines River is polluted, many small businesses will suffer. We all have a stake in the success of our business community, and we need to ensure that our environment and our waterways are clean enough to sustain a vibrant local economy,” said Mike Draper, owner of RAYGUN, a small retail business with stores in Des Moines and Iowa City.

“As farmers, we depend on our land and water for our livelihood. The health of the waterways near my dairy is critical to my dairy. I applaud the EPA for taking the steps necessary to keep our waterways clean,” said Francis Thicke, a local dairy farmer in Fairfield, Iowa.

“Allowing any of our waterways to be vulnerable to pollution means we leave our small businesses, farms, and families vulnerable as well,” said Hesterberg. “To protect the health of the Des Moines River and our communities, we need the Clean Water Act to protect all Iowa’s waterways. We stand by the Environmental Protection Agency in full support of its efforts to keep our waterways clean and healthy -- now and for future generations.”